Aaron: This three inch statue was given to me by a pair of Senegalese kids, Yamar and his sister Fatou, whom I taught for the summer of 2004 while living in Washington DC. Though it's just a token from their home country, one which they pined for with particular vigor during my lessons, I've always cherished it as a memory of them and as a kind of spur, encouraging me to get to West Africa.
I've had a yen to visit there for many years, and after spending time with Yamar, Fatou, their aunt Rose who was also a teacher at the Rock Creek International School, and their mother who came for a visit, my resolve solidified. I keep the statue on my desk at home, or in the windowsill, but always out, his little hand raised, his tassel-less fez standing erect, and speculate about what sort of person he's meant to represent. A scholar, a cleric, a storyteller, a merchant? He appears to be in the midst of saying something, but what, I can't divine. Perhaps only a trip to Senegal will tell.
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